Documents reveal deadly blast risk at Ichthys LNG project

Ichthys, INPEX
Ichthys Explorer CPF in the Ichthys field, courtesy INPEX

Internal company documents obtained by The West Australian reveal more than half the electrical equipment in hazardous areas on the Ichthys Explorer production vessel did not pass safety checks.

The paper reveals shoddy electrical work could ignite any gas that escapes, causing an explosion.

Icthys operator INPEX last year commissioned independent engineering company Kentech to audit the vessels and found serious issues.

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The audit said, “It is the opinion of Kentech that a degree of risk uncertainly still exists and the remedial strategies applied do not, in their current form, reduce the risk of a Major Accident Event from the ignition of flammable gases by electrical equipment to ALARP”.

Kentech inspected 747 of the Icthys Explorer platform’s 44,000 electrical fittings and 54 per cent of these did not pass safety checks.

“An underlying culture of rushing to meet deadlines has compromised the quality and compliance of the electrical installation, and it is vital this mistake is not repeated during the future remedial works,” the report said.

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“Failures at the installation and detailed inspection stage has raised doubts over the competency of the workers performing these tasks.

“This has created a unique circumstance where gas has been introduced to the facility for commissioning and start up when a number of known electrical non-compliances exist.”

There are concerns the vessel is not prepared for cyclones and severe weather events.

The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) and INPEX have been contacted for comment.